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The importance of electrochemistry and electrochemical processes in science, research and industry is closely linked to the development of electrochemical measuring instruments, the potentiostats. On the one hand, a potentiostat “provides” the necessary driving force or activation energy to accelerate reactions and make them tangible, on the other hand, current and voltage measurement results in a diverse and precise analysis of reaction kinetics and stoichiometry.
A potentiostat not only combines current and voltage supply with current and voltage measurement, it is also the Swiss army knife for electrochemistry-based methodology due to its highly precise and adapted measurement technology. Basic information on how potentiostats work can be found here.
Operational amplifier (OPA)
The heart of a potentiostat is the Operational Amplifier (OPA), which acts as a differential amplifier, balancing the two input signals from the Working Electrode (WE) and the Reference Electrode (RE) and releasing a corresponding current flow to the counter electrode for matching. As long as the potential difference between the working and reference electrodes does not correspond to the desired value, the OPA controls the current flow through the cell between the counter and working electrodes.
Another aspect that is emerging as a result of the microelectronic architecture of modern potentiostats is the development of multi-channel devices. By minimising the hardware dimensions, several measuring channels can be accommodated in a still compact housing. Multi-channel potentiostats therefore increase the measurement throughput and the overall speed of research. In addition, the price per measuring channel is sometimes significantly reduced, so that it can also be an economic decision to rely on a multi-channel potentiostat.
The modular idea is taken up by Origalys, but by not using a common housing, the modules remain usable individually. The combination of different specifications is nevertheless possible. The products can be found in the shop of our parent company LXinstruments.
PalmSens combines the individual hardware modules of PalmSens4 and EmStat4 to MultiPalmSens4 and MultiEmStat4. This results in exactly the same specifications as the single channel model. Especially the MultiEmStat4 offers a lot of channel and performance for the money. Product details can be found here.
There are two versions of the multi-channel units by Ivium: The OctoStat, as 30 or 200mA or 5A unit with 8 channels each and the n-Stat series with plug-in modules. A single housing can be equipped with different modules in countless variations. OctoStat models are particularly relevant for investigations of electrochemical energy systems, such as batteries and fuel cells. Due to the multiplicity of the measuring channels, a particularly favourable price/channel ratio can be achieved. n-Stat models are aimed at users of flexible measurement technology, as different module specifications can be combined depending on the requirements. Product details can be found here.